Suitable for Key Stage 2.

Come and let your pupils immerse themselves in local history whilst becoming Victorian pharmacy apprentices. The Victorian Pharmacy is a unique room located at the Holly Lodge Centre in Richmond Park. It is a genuine Victorian Pharmacy that was formally located in East Sheen.They will use their numeracy skills; measuring ingredients, working out fractions and completing data charts as they help the Pharmacist create pills and potions.

This practical session provides cross curricular learning and inspires pupils to think about changes in medicine and comparing how things were done then and now.  They will learn about the social conditions of the time, how diseases such as cholera killed many people and the vital role of the pharmacist in helping to alleviate symptoms.

Which season is best for this activity?

This activity is suitable for any season, taking place entirely indoors. No special clothing is required, aprons are provided.

Learning objectives and links to the national curriculum Programme of Study

The session links directly to the National Curriculum History Programmes of Study for Ket Stage 2(. , the Maths National Curriculum and the Science National Curriculum .  All our sessions are underpinned by detailed lesson plans. These plans are adjusted to take account of the variations in ability and skill level.

Outline of the Activity

The pupils will start this session by looking at photos of the past which highlight the issues of hygiene in the Victorian era such as drinking dirty water which contributed to the prevalance of waterborne illnesses such as cholera and typhoid.  Doctors were too expensive for most people so instead sick people would visit a chymist who would make all the medicine himself with the help of an apprentice.  Explain that they are going to be the apprentices today.

We will divide into two groups.

Group 1 will visit the Victorian classroom and make a mint extract using herbs from our kitchen garden.

Group 2 will visit the Victorian pharmacy for a pill making session.

Ideas for pre-visit learning

Before bringing a group to do this activitiy, here are some ideas to introduce the subject:

  • Dscuss what they do if they are sick today, who can they go to for help? How can they get medicine?
  • What is the role of a pharmacist today ?
  • Why do you think there was a lot of sickness in the Victorian era?

Ideas for follow-up work back at school

  • Write a diary entry about their day as an apprentice
  • Can they record the stages of making the mint extract?
  • What are the similarities and differences bettwen a chemist today and a chymist from the Victorian era.


“Excellent resources, children really engaged, always happy to come here.”

 “Really fun and lovely that the children had something to take home. It had lots of links to history, science and maths.”

“The volunteers pitched the level of work excellently for the age group – loads of different tasks. All boys listening and actively involved”